Ellis Curry was on his job site for MD Moody welding a unit. His supervisor approached him with an edition of the Florida Times-Union in hand. “Is this you?” he asked referring to the younger version of Ellis on the front page of the paper? Ellis stopped what he was doing, fully expecting to be fired as the word, “yes” rolled off his tongue. “I tried to tell you about the nature of my the offense”, Ellis said. The next words from his supervisor threw him for a loop while simultaneously letting him know who he was today was a far cry from the young man on the front page of the paper. “Did you learn how to weld like this in prison?” “Are their more guys like you?” Those were the questions his supervisor asked him.

Yes, Ellis learned how to weld during a portion of the 12 years he spent in prison. When asked I was told he strategically chose the craft of welding as he believed the ability to learn the trade and gain hands-on experience would become a launching pad for him to create a new life for himself and it did! After landing the job at Moody through a temp agency he eventually ended up a Caterpillar doing welds for a Fortune 100 company. Under the guidance of a mentor, increased industry knowledge, and a knack Ellis launched his own welding firm with a fully stocked truck and trailer.

With the economics of Ellis’s life beginning to take shape through the ability to provide for himself Ellis was able to get married, obtain custody of his daughter (who has recently graduated high school), and given his time to the development of inner-city youth through his program Cleaning Up Today’s Society (C.U.T.S.)¬†which implements programming for youth, as well as lending his voice in our State and Federal Legislature in regards to youth sentencing and rehabilitation (he was a juvenile sentenced as an adult).